Windows 7 does have a program built into it called Contacts. You can get to this by clicking the Windows Logo (formerly known as the Start button), type Contacts, and a clickable selection to launch Contacts will appear:
What you’ll see in there is at least one contact – you. Any user account in Windows 7 will show up as a contact. And no, that does not mean the contact is shared anywhere on the internet. What you see there is local-only stuff.
Windows 7 Contacts is in fact pretty good – save for one problem. It can’t sync on its own. There are third-party utilities to assist with this, but I haven’t seen any that do a good job. As for Microsoft-specific utilities, Windows Live Mesh won’t sync the contacts (that I know of), nor will "Link Online IDs" from within Windows 7 itself.
Some of you may see the inability of Windows 7 Contacts to sync as a good thing, because you know all contacts will stay local to the machine – but I see the lack of sync-ability to be a huge drawback; it is for this reason I don’t recommend using it.
Windows Live Mail 2011 on the other hand gives you the option of local or sync.
Before continuing, yes, WLMail 2011 does have the option of importing all your Win7 Contacts right from within the program. If you open Contacts from within WLMail 2011, in the ribbon the option is there:
If you populated your Win7 Contacts, at least you have a very easy option to import all the stuff over to Windows Live Mail 2011 with just two clicks.
Now you’ll notice in the above screenshot is a "Sign in" button. That button when clicked will prompt you to login with a Windows Live ID, like this:
Your address book at that point will be synchronized to the Windows Live ID (which you’ll most likely be using a Hotmail account for).
An important thing to remember is that it’s not required to use Hotmail email to sync contacts from WLMail 2011, as the account is all that matters. In fact, you don’t even need to use WLMail 2011 for email at all if you don’t want to. If the only reason to do this is for Contacts sync, that’s fine.
You have a few other advantages to using Contacts in WLMail 2011.
- Contacts can be accessed from your PC or the web.
- For any other computer you have with Win Vista or 7, you can load up WLMail 2011 and load up your contacts there.
- For capable phones, you can also sync contacts with that device as well.
Tip For The Paranoid: How to disconnect WLMail 2011 Contacts from Windows Live
If for whatever reason you want all your contacts out of Windows Live and disconnect the client completely from a Windows Live ID, this is how to do it:
In WLMail 2011
Menu > Options > Mail
Connection (tab) > Stop Signing In (button)
On Windows Live
Go to www.hotmail.com and login with your Windows Live ID (Hotmail account).
Hover over Hotmail on the top and click Contacts:
Delete every contact you see.
If you feel you made a huge goof after doing that, there’s the option to restore:
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